DIY Layered Naked Wedding Cake for Under $20

I love weddings. They are an opportunity to throw a fancy party and get my DIY on.

During my own wedding, I had a very sweet friend who happened to make wedding cakes professionally help me with mine. I’ve done a few for friends and family since then, and have solemnly sworn never to do a fondant cake again. Super hard. But this naked cake trend? I can handle that.

I made one for my Sister In-Law’s Wedding, and one for my Daughter’s Mermaid Birthday Party, and I am seriously obsessed.

The best part? You can totally make one yourself for about $20 total, which includes ingredients and the pan.

HERE’S THE PAN I used for this cake. It’s a 2×6″ pan, but you can use whatever size you want. I recommend staying in-between 6-10 though.

To start off, get two boxes of cake mix.

You can really use whatever mix recipe you want, as long as it bakes a sturdy cake. Some people actually add special ingredients like soda to alter the cake box mixes and make them taste different.

Next, bake your individual layers. I just filled my one one pan with enough batter to be about 2″ tall overall, but you can buy multiple pans to speed up the baking process, if you like.

Once cooled down, gently level the cake by cutting off the cake tops.

Flip the layers upside down. We will be using these perfectly even cake bottoms as the tops of our layers now.

It’s a good idea to make a few extra layers incase some of them don’t work out. I ended up using 5.

For frosting, I use a very thick, sturdy buttercream. It needs to be thick so it doesn’t collapse under the weight of the layers or squish out the sides.

The recipe I used was as follows:

2 Cups Butter

8-10 Cups Powdered Sugar (normal recipes call for about 6, but I keep on dumping it until it’s thick to my licking)

1 tsp flavoring (vanilla, lemon, etc)

4-8 tsp of milk (again, depends on how much powdered sugar you add- ad just enough to make it smooth, and not lumpy)

Add a dollop to the cake platter to secure it to the plate.

Place the first layer on top of the frosting, centering it.

Add a spoonful of frosting to the first layer.

Smooth it out, adding additional frosting to the center, and smoothing it out from the middle to the outer edges. Careful not to make the frosting peel up, getting crumbs in it.

Place the next layer on top, perfectly centering it with the base layer.

Continue adding frosting on each new layer, saving the nicest for the top.

Here’s a short example of how to spread the frosting.

Now you can always just keep it as is, but if you want the scraped look, grab a cake frosting scraper, and drag it around the cake, with the handle part facing away from the cake, going clockwise. This will make the frosting in between the layers even. You may need to fill in a few gabs with more frosting, like me.

Here’s how it looks scraped. So pretty!

I add 1-3 long dowels down the cake middle once I have it all even and level. Sometimes it helps to photograph the cake & reference the pictures to make sure the sides are lining up.

Now for the fun part: flowers! Make sure to use only edible (and non-pesticide flowers.) Or you can always just not serve the top layer (*wink*). I have also put a parchment paper topping on cakes before to act as a barrier.

Some of my favorite flowers to decorate cakes with are roses, rose buds, succulents, mint sprigs, rosemary leaves, and of course artificial flowers!

One of the best things about this cake is it is pretty much fool-proof because it’s meant to be imperfect.

I’ve had to do everything from disassembling the top three layers to remove the fourth (because it cracked under the weight), to powdering the sides with powdered sugar and then misting it to get the frosting on the sides perfect. So with that said, don’t be afraid of messing this cake up. Anyone can make this cake! It takes me approximately 1 hour of work to assemble and decorate a cake like this one. If you are going to do this for a wedding, make the layers ahead of time and refrigerate them & assemble the day before.

A little slice with this cake goes a long way.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give it a try.

XO Hannah

thank you for stopping by!

  1. Alice G

    April 7th, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    I just love this idea for other special occasions too! I am planning the food for my niece's engagement party and her wedding shower. She is very dear to me and I want to make her parties extra special. I think that naked cakes will be the perfect addition to the other foods ideas I am working on.
    Thanks for a great (and easy) idea.
    Alice G.

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